Thursday, November 17, 2016

More on Chant

Here are a few resources that would have made a couple of classes I took in college a bit easier.  

Here's a place you can download PDF files of a rare edition of the complete Liber Usualis in modern notation. 

You can download it but if you print it out on two-sides, on my printer it came out with the pages being upside down from the one on the other side.  Also, the explanatory text is in Latin.  

You might want to also download this file of Masses and Vespers and or this file of the Liber Usualis with the explanations in English, though the music is printed in the "Gregorian Notation".   That notation is, in some ways, helpful but in other ways not especially helpful.   You will need to learn now to read the numes and the ligatures, which are explained in the introductory text. 

I would point out that there are a lot of pages to print out so you might want to be selective as to which pages you choose to print.  I only printed out the sections with the ordinary chants of the mass and the office.  I might choose to print out some individual pages of the rest of it as desired but I'm not planning on ever going through the whole liturgy, which isn't used by more than the most reactionary of "traditionalists".  Of course such "traditionalists" are generally ignorant of the history of the Catholic liturgy or they'd know that there is no period in the past or today which represents their romantic notion of that"tradition".   The famous Solesmes style of singing the chant is valid for its period, it is, though, a relatively modern invention.  There is no real, original authentic way of singing them, that idea is also ahistorical romance, though the melodies of many of the chants are very ancient and have been part of the tradition of Western Music from about the beginning of it being documented. 

If you want to look at the methods of chanting the psalms with the psalm tones, the instructions to do that are in the beginning of the section of the Ordinary Chants of the Office, right after the Ordinary Chants of the Mass.  

If you want to read about the chant, Willi Apel's book on Gregorian Chant will tell you about everything you're likely to want to know.  If you want something shorter the article in the Harvard Dictionary of Music or Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians are very good, especially in the most recent editions. 

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